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Virginia board bucks Cuccinelli’s advice, approves gay nondiscrimination policy

The board that oversees Virginia’s juvenile correctional facilities agreed Tuesday, for a second time, to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation despite being counseled against such action by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II.

The board voted 5 to 1, rejecting Cuccinelli’s contention that only the General Assembly can designate a special class of citizens.

The Department of Juvenile Justice operates five facilities and a diagnostic facility, and the Board of Juvenile Justice sets broad policy for the agency. More than 800 juveniles are housed in the institutions.

Equality Virginia, a gay rights group, has touted a national study estimating that 8 percent of boys and 23 percent of girls in juvenile detention identify their sexuality as other than heterosexual.

“The regulations passed by the board today will return to the governor’s office for review as the next step in the process. They will be reviewed then in the coming weeks,” said Jeff Caldwell, a spokesman for Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). “The governor’s office will review the minutes of the board’s meeting and the language of the resolutions passed today before making any determination on this issue.”

A spokesman for Cuccinelli did not respond to a request for comment.

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